Feed aggregator

  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.

When the bison come back, will the ecosystem follow?

ArsTechnica - Sun, 06/06/2021 - 5:30am
When the bison come back, will the ecosystem follow?

Enlarge (credit: Scott Kublin)

On a blustery October afternoon at the Wolfcrow Bison Ranch in southern Alberta, Canada, Dan Fox and his ranch hand, Man Blackplume, tried to wrestle fence panels into place despite a 60 mph wind. The next day was weaning day—and the fence needed to be rock solid so the bison calves could be separated from their mothers.

The two members of the Kainai First Nation, also known as the Blood Tribe, braced their bodies against the 12-foot-high fence panels so they could nail them to the posts, but the panels flapped in the wind like giant wooden flags. Across the pasture, 30 bison stood huddled together in the corner, unfazed by the commotion. They were part of the first bison herd to grace the Blood Reserve in 150 years, Fox says. The Kainai First Nation is one of four tribal groups within the Blackfoot Confederacy, which includes the Blackfeet Tribe in Montana.

Fox, 63, believes the animals may have helped extend his life. He experienced a cancer scare more than 20 years ago, and at the suggestion of a Blackfoot healer and naturopath, he changed his diet, replacing processed food with bison meat and other ancestral foods. His health improved, and today he says he feels better than ever. He is convinced that his family and his community will benefit, as he did, by having the buffalo back on the land and in their lives. (Bison bison is the scientific name for the animal, but buffalo is the word that most Indigenous people use.)

Read 44 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Hacker lexicon: What is a supply chain attack?

ArsTechnica - Sun, 06/06/2021 - 4:30am
The word

Enlarge (credit: Frank Lindecke / Flickr)

Cybersecurity truisms have long been described in simple terms of trust: Beware email attachments from unfamiliar sources and don't hand over credentials to a fraudulent website. But increasingly, sophisticated hackers are undermining that basic sense of trust and raising a paranoia-inducing question: what if the legitimate hardware and software that makes up your network has been compromised at the source?

That insidious and increasingly common form of hacking is known as a "supply chain attack," a technique in which an adversary slips malicious code or even a malicious component into a trusted piece of software or hardware. By compromising a single supplier, spies or saboteurs can hijack its distribution systems to turn any application they sell, any software update they push out, even the physical equipment they ship to customers, into Trojan horses. With one well-placed intrusion, they can create a springboard to the networks of a supplier's customers—sometimes numbering hundreds or even thousands of victims.

"Supply chain attacks are scary because they're really hard to deal with, and because they make it clear you're trusting a whole ecology," says Nick Weaver, a security researcher at UC Berkeley's International Computer Science Institute. "You're trusting every vendor whose code is on your machine, and you're trusting every vendor's vendor.”

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The best early Prime Day deal gives $10 Amazon credit with a $40 gift card

ArsTechnica - Sat, 06/05/2021 - 8:03am
The best early Prime Day deal gives $10 Amazon credit with a $40 gift card

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

Today's Dealmaster is headlined by a handful of special offers Amazon has set live ahead of its upcoming Prime Day sales event, which the company recently announced for June 21-22. The best early deal of the bunch is one we also saw during last year's event: Prime members who buy select Amazon gift cards worth $40 or more will get a bonus $10 Amazon promotional credit applied to their account at no extra cost.

To get the deal, you'll have to use the code "GIFTFORPD21" at checkout or tap the "Apply code to your account" button located on the offer's landing page. You should then see a notice at checkout that confirms your eligibility for the credit, which Amazon will then email to you and apply to your account within two days. The company says you'll have to use the credit before August 8, and the credit itself can't be applied to items sold by third-party vendors on Amazon's store. You can only utilize the offer once per account, and again, the deal is only for Prime members, since Amazon's aim here is to generate more users and sales activity ahead of Prime Day. All that said, if you buy a card for yourself, the deal effectively gives $50 in Amazon money for the price of $40. Amazon says the offer will run through June 20 or while supplies last.

If you don't feel like taking advantage, though, our weekend deals roundup also has early Prime Day deals on Audible and Amazon Music Unlimited subscriptions, plus good price drops on PlayStation Plus, the recently-released Resident Evil Village, wireless Logitech mice, noise-canceling headphones we like, and much more. You can check out the full curated roundup below.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Reducing poverty can actually lower energy demand, finds research

ArsTechnica - Sat, 06/05/2021 - 6:00am
Ethiopians carrying jerrycans of water.

Ethiopians carrying jerrycans of water. (credit: UNICEF Ethiopia/2011/Lemma)

As people around the world escape poverty, you might expect their energy use to increase. But my research in Nepal, Vietnam, and Zambia found the opposite: lower levels of deprivation were linked to lower levels of energy demand. What is behind this counterintuitive finding?

After all, the prevailing strategy to end extreme poverty relies on the belief that we need to grow the economic “pie," so we can produce more goods and services, at the same time as households and government spending capacity increases to consume those goods and services. And so, when poverty is “diagnosed” by income, the “remedy” is said to be economic growth.

However with widening inequalities and an acute sanitation crisis in much of the world, many still evade the promised benefits of economic growth. It turns out that poverty is not only about income: it consists of multiple deprivations.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

“Kind of crazy”—how the booming US used car market is driving inflation

ArsTechnica - Sat, 06/05/2021 - 5:15am
“Kind of crazy”—how the booming US used car market is driving inflation

Enlarge (credit: Nathan Mattise)

Last month it took Carey Cherner, a 36-year-old used car dealer in Kensington, Maryland, less than 12 hours to sell a 2001 Ford F-150 pick-up truck with 184,000 miles on the clock. It went for $7,500—50 percent higher than usual.

Cherner’s experience was not a one-off in the US used car market, where prices are rising rapidly. The industry is at t heart of the country’s growing inflationary pressures—and has therefore become a subject of great interest to policymakers in Washington.

“There’s more people buying cars than there are cars in the market, which makes it go kind of crazy,” Cherner said.

Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments

There’s hope for American movie theaters after all

ArsTechnica - Sat, 06/05/2021 - 4:30am
Screenshot from A Quiet Place II trailer

Enlarge / Don't make a sound. (credit: YouTube/Paramount)

A year ago it would’ve seemed unfathomable: Over the Memorial Day holiday, a single film had a good opening weekend at the North American box office. After 15 months of COVID-19 theater closures, delayed release dates, and general anxiety about the future of moviegoing, A Quiet Place Part II is projected to bring in north of $57 million. That’s the most any movie has made during the pandemic and far outpaces the last record holder: Godzilla vs. Kong, which snagged $32 million in March.

To be clear, $57 million isn’t what Hollywood insiders would definitely call “boffo”—previous Memorial Day weekends have seen openings that top $100 million. But for the past year and change, as theater chains have faced bankruptcy and scores of movie lovers have hunkered down with a buffet of streaming services to fill their needs, there has been genuine concern about whether theater-going, as it has existed for a century, would survive. A Quiet Place Part II’s opening shows that it might.

The sequel to 2018’s A Quiet Place isn’t the only bright spot. Disney’s Cruella de Vil origin story, Cruella, is projected to rake in more than $26 million for the four-day weekend—a total that comes despite the film also being available to Disney+ subscribers for an additional $30 fee. (For comparison, Disney’s live-action Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, which was released in theaters only, brought in $37 million domestically during its pre-pandemic opening weekend.) As the coronavirus pandemic stretched through 2020, and many studios opted to put their big releases on streaming platforms, many wondered if audiences would return to theaters when they could watch the same films at home. Cruella’s modest, but strong, opening illustrates that they will.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Early adopters of Chinese vaccines see case surges; China plows ahead anyway

ArsTechnica - Fri, 06/04/2021 - 4:05pm
Vials of the Sinopharm vaccine in Beijing on June 1.

Enlarge / Vials of the Sinopharm vaccine in Beijing on June 1. (credit: Getty | Xinhua News Agency)

Despite a sluggish start, China is now vaccinating its people against COVID-19 at an impressive clip, currently averaging nearly 20 million doses administered per day. As of Friday, the country had given more than 720 million vaccinations since mid-December, with nearly 400 million of those given in May alone.

The dramatic ramp up comes at an awkward time, however. Early adopters of China’s vaccines have seen dramatic surges in COVID-19 cases—despite high vaccination rates—and are now backing away from the country’s offerings.

In Bahrain, for instance, officials are now offering high-risk people who have already received two doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccine a third vaccine dose—but one made by Pfizer-BioNTech. The apparent vote of no confidence by officials is striking: Bahrain was one of the first countries to back and rollout Sinopharm’s vaccine, and it has had a highly successful vaccination campaign. Nearly 58 percent of the Persian Gulf country has received at least one dose of a vaccine, and most of the vaccines given in Bahrain are from Sinopharm. But the country is now seeing its worst wave of COVID-19 yet and the government has recently issued a two-week lockdown to try to get transmission under control.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Puppies’ ability to communicate with people is present almost from birth

ArsTechnica - Fri, 06/04/2021 - 4:03pm
A dog

Enlarge / Gimme five! New University of Arizona study finds puppies are wired to communicate with people. "There's definitely a strong genetic component, and they're definitely doing it from the get-go." (credit: Anita Kot / Getty Images)

That special social bond between dogs and humans might be a genetic trait that evolved as dogs became domesticated and diverged from wolves, according to a new study published in the journal Current Biology that looks at the cognitive and behavioral social skills of hundreds of adorable puppies.

"People have been interested in dogs' abilities to do these kinds of things for a long time, but there's always been debate about to what extent is this really in the biology of dogs, versus something they learn by palling around with humans," said co-author Evan MacLean, director of the Arizona Canine Cognition Center at the University of Arizona in Tucson. "We found that there's definitely a strong genetic component, and they're definitely doing it from the get-go."

His co-author, Emily Bray, an anthropology postdoc at the university, has spent the last 10 years studying how dogs think and solve problems, in conjunction with Canine Companions, a California-based service-dog organization catering to people with disabilities. Human children can reason about the physical world and have sufficient social cognitive skills for cooperative communication by the age of 2.5 years, but what about dogs? According to the authors, there is also a growing body of research showing evidence that domesticated dogs share similar social cognitive skills, although possible biological bases for those abilities had not been tested.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

This is not a drill: VMware vuln with 9.8 severity rating is under attack

ArsTechnica - Fri, 06/04/2021 - 1:17pm
 VMware vuln with 9.8 severity rating is under attack

Enlarge

A VMware vulnerability with a severity rating of 9.8 out of 10 is under active exploitation. At least one reliable exploit has gone public, and there have been successful attempts in the wild to compromise servers that run the vulnerable software.

The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2021-21985, resides in the vCenter Server, a tool for managing virtualization in large data centers. A VMware advisory published last week said vCenter machines using default configurations have a bug that, in many networks, allows for the execution of malicious code when the machines are reachable on a port that is exposed to the Internet.

Code execution, no authentication required

On Wednesday, a researcher published proof-of-concept code that exploits the flaw. A fellow researcher who asked not to be named said the exploit works reliably and that little additional work is needed to use the code for malicious purposes. It can be reproduced using five requests from cURL, a command-line tool that transfers data using HTTP, HTTPS, IMAP, and other common Internet protocols.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Yes, the military is serious about rocketing supplies around the planet

ArsTechnica - Fri, 06/04/2021 - 12:00pm
Smoke and flame surround a squat rocket as it lifts off.

Enlarge / A SpaceX Starship prototype takes flight in April, 2021. (credit: SpaceX)

The Air Force confirmed a strong interest in delivery of cargo around the world—by rockets—during an hourlong conference call with reporters on Friday. Military officials said they were elevating the cargo initiative to become the newest "Vanguard Program," indicating a desire to move the concept from an experimental state into an operational capability.

"This idea has been around since the dawn of spaceflight," said Dr. Greg Spanjers, an Air Force scientist and the Rocket Cargo Program Manager. "It's always been an intriguing idea. We've looked at it about every 10 years, but it's never really made sense. The reason we're doing it now is because it looks like technology may have caught up with a good idea."

Ars first reported about the "Rocket Cargo" program in the Air Force's budget request on Monday. As part of its $200 billion annual budget, the Air Force is seeking $47.9 million to leverage emerging commercial rocket capabilities to launch cargo from one location and land elsewhere on Earth.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

“Deleted” Nintendo floppy recovered 26 years later, full of Earthbound secrets

ArsTechnica - Fri, 06/04/2021 - 11:40am
Amazing what can be found on decades-old disks full of "deleted" files.

Enlarge / Amazing what can be found on decades-old disks full of "deleted" files. (credit: Video Game History Foundation)

The golden-age rebirth of console gaming, largely spurred by the NES's mega-success, has remained a lucrative era for conservationists. There's a whole community out there rushing to find documents, disks, and hard drives from the '80s and '90s before they're savaged by time and bit rot. Yet sometimes, those old storage standards' limitations can work out in game historians' favor.

On Friday, the Video Game History Foundation announced its restoration of a single Nintendo-related, 3.5-inch floppy disk, as discovered by original Earthbound translator Marcus Lindblom in 2018. The story sounds a lot like ones we've heard in the past, where someone from the gaming industry cleans out an attic or a storage unit only to find disks that they think are lost to time.

In Lindblom's case, he thought the Earthbound disk he'd discovered was lost to his own younger stupidity. At one point he learned, after putting it into an older computer, that he'd deleted the disk's contents to save other work on it. He donated the disk to VGHF with fingers crossed that they could work their magic, which they apparently did. As it turns out, only one small file had been saved to the disk after its "deletion," thus leaving most of the original magnetic media untouched. Forensic recovery tools managed to recover every single disk sector, revealing the SNES RPG's "complete" scripting files for English and Japanese text, along with related code for event triggers in the game.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Researchers perform magic tricks for birds, who are not amused

ArsTechnica - Fri, 06/04/2021 - 11:18am
A Eurasian jay takes a skeptical view of magic.

Enlarge / A Eurasian jay takes a skeptical view of magic. (credit: Luc Viatour)

Most magic tricks require a fairly sophisticated understanding of how humans perceive the world. To fall for a trick, people have to see things they perceive as important and ignore things that are actually important. Understanding why magic works can tell us important things about how humans direct their attention and form expectations.

At some point, behavioral scientists realized they could take this idea and apply it to animals. If animals are also fooled by magic tricks, we can identify where our cognitive skills overlap. If the trick fails, we can identify points where our understandings of the world diverge. Unsurprisingly, most early experiments were done with other primates, as they would likely have a lot of overlap with us. But a new study attempts magic with birds and finds that many tricks just don't work with them.

Not easily fooled

The birds in the study were Eurasian jays, who are part of a family (corvids) known to be unusually intelligent. Many species of jays cache food (if you've ever found that oak trees have been seeded in your flower pots, jays are probably why) and often engage in elaborate deceptions to keep their fellow jays from stealing their caches. So it's not a stretch to think that magic might be something birds could comprehend.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Google makes small Android advertising concession in wake of iOS 14.5

ArsTechnica - Fri, 06/04/2021 - 10:49am
The word

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

After Apple shook up the advertising industry by requiring users to opt-in to ad tracking in iOS 14.5, Google—the world's biggest ad company—is announcing a small concession for advertising on Android. Starting in late 2021, Google will begin to roll out a feature that makes Android's years-old advertising opt-out checkbox less likely to be bypassed by apps.

Android has offered an advertising opt-out option for years, and the interface doesn't seem to be changing. Buried in the settings (System Settings -> Google -> Ads) is a checkbox allowing you to "opt out of ads personalization."

Checking the box would "instruct apps not to use your advertising ID," but with this new change, the checkbox will stop asking apps to not use the advertising ID and will instead show apps "a string of zeros" if they try to access it. The rollout will start affecting apps running on Android 12 devices in late 2021 and will expand to all Google Play services in early 2022.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Facebook extends Trump ban, ends exemptions for politicians’ posts [Updated]

ArsTechnica - Fri, 06/04/2021 - 7:53am
Facebook extends Trump ban, ends exemptions for politicians’ posts [Updated]

Enlarge (credit: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Update, 12:54 pm EDT: Facebook announced today that Donald Trump will remain banned from the company's platforms through January 7, 2023. On that day, Facebook will evaluate current events and ask experts "to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded," wrote Facebook Vice President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg. Factors Facebook will consider include "instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly, and other markers of civil unrest."

If the company still thinks there's a risk, it will extend Trump's ban. "When the suspension is eventually lifted, there will be a strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Mr. Trump commits further violations in future, up to and including permanent removal of his pages and accounts," Clegg wrote.

Original story: Facebook has given politicians extreme leeway with what they can post, essentially treating them as a special class of user. Now, that policy will reportedly change, perhaps as early as today.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Ransomware will now get priority treatment at the Justice Department

ArsTechnica - Fri, 06/04/2021 - 4:55am
Skull and crossbones in binary code

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

The Justice Department has created a task force to centrally track and coordinate all federal cases involving ransomware or related types of cybercrime, such as botnets, money laundering, and bulletproof hosting.

“To ensure we can make necessary connections across national and global cases and investigations… we must enhance and centralize our internal tracking of investigations and prosecutions of ransomware groups and the infrastructure and networks that allow the threats to persist,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco told US attorneys throughout the country on Thursday. She issued the directive in a memo that was first reported by Reuters. Investigators in field offices around the country would be expected to share information as well.

The new directive applies not just to cases or investigations involving ransomware but a host of related scourges, including:

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Rocket Report: SpaceX breaks streak of used launches, FAA clears Electron

ArsTechnica - Fri, 06/04/2021 - 4:00am
A rising rocket leaves a tongue of flame in its wake.

Enlarge / Liftoff of SpaceX's 22nd operational cargo resupply mission to the Space Station for NASA at 1:29:15 pm June 3, 2021. (credit: Trevor Mahlmann / Ars Technica)

Welcome to Edition 4.01 of the Rocket Report! Yes, we've already reached our third anniversary, and I can't say enough about all of our readers who have contributed story ideas over the last three years. The Rocket Report is a much, much richer product thanks to your help.

As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don't want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.

Virgin Galactic announces another science mission. Virgin Galactic revealed a new contract Thursday for human-tended research aboard its suborbital spacecraft, VSS Unity. The company said that Kellie Gerardi, a researcher and science communicator, would conduct two experiments during an upcoming flight that could happen as early as 2022, Ars reports.

Read 24 remaining paragraphs | Comments

What to expect from WWDC 2021: iOS 15, M2, and more

ArsTechnica - Thu, 06/03/2021 - 4:19pm

Apple kicks off its annual developer conference, WWDC, with a keynote presentation on Monday. As was the case last year, WWDC will be an online-only affair, but don't let that fool you: We think this is going to be an eventful keynote. Expect multiple interesting announcements for users living in or following Apple's ecosystem of hardware, software, and services.

The focus of WWDC is almost always on Apple's software, and rightly so. This is an event primarily meant to engage with developers and encourage them to create new software experiences for Apple's various platforms.

For that reason, we should, of course, expect detailed information about the new versions of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS.

Read 35 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Researchers rewire the genetics of E. coli, make it virus-proof

ArsTechnica - Thu, 06/03/2021 - 2:06pm
Image of a woman holding bacterial plates.

Enlarge / On the outside, these heavily engineered bacteria look no different from their normal peers. (credit: Raphael Gaillarde / Getty Images)

Many of the fundamental features of life don't necessarily have to be the way they are. Chance plays a major role in evolution, and there are always alternate paths that were never explored, simply because whatever evolved previously happened to be good enough. One instance of this idea is the genetic code, which converts the information carried by our DNA into the specific sequence of amino acids that form proteins. There are scores of potential amino acids, many of which can form spontaneously, but most life uses a genetic code that relies on just 20 of them.

Over the past couple of decades, scientists have shown that it doesn't have to be that way. If you supply bacteria with the right enzyme and an alternative amino acid, they can use it. But bacteria won't use the enzyme and amino acid very efficiently, as all the existing genetic code slots are already in use.

In a new work, researchers have managed to edit bacteria's genetic code to free up a few new slots. They then filled those slots with unnatural amino acids, allowing the bacteria to produce proteins that would never be found in nature. One side effect of the reprogramming? No viruses could replicate in the modified bacteria.

Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Supreme Court reins in definition of crime under controversial hacking law

ArsTechnica - Thu, 06/03/2021 - 12:46pm
Protesters walking across a bridge. One holds a sign with a picture of Aaron Swartz that says,

Enlarge / In April 2013, more than 120 people attended a rally in Boston to remember Aaron Swartz and call for reform of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. (credit: Getty Images | Boston Globe)

The Supreme Court issued a ruling Thursday that imposes a limit on what counts as a crime under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

The case involves a former Georgia police sergeant who "used his own, valid credentials" to get information about a license plate number from a law enforcement database, the court decision said. The sergeant ran the search in exchange for money and for non-law enforcement purposes, violating a department policy. He was charged with a felony under the CFAA, which says it's a crime when someone "intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access." He was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison in May 2018.

A federal appeals court upheld the conviction, but the Supreme Court reversed it today in a 6-3 decision that said Van Buren did not violate the CFAA. Justices found that the cybersecurity statute does not make it a crime to obtain information from a computer when the person has authorized access to that machine, even if the person has "improper motives."

Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Warner Bros. releases trailer for noir-esque sci-fi thriller Reminiscence

ArsTechnica - Thu, 06/03/2021 - 12:33pm

Hugh Jackman stars as a man who helps clients recover lost memories in the sci-fi thriller Reminiscence.

A solitary man living in a dystopian near-future helps people recover lost memories and ends up uncovering a violent conspiracy in Reminiscence, a sci-fi thriller that feels like a cross between classic film noir and ambitiously heady fare like Memento and Inception. That's no surprise, as it's the feature film directorial debut of Lisa Joy, co-creator (with husband Jonathan Nolan) of HBO's critically acclaimed series Westworld.

Per the official premise:

Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman), a private investigator of the mind, navigates the darkly alluring world of the past by helping his clients access lost memories. Living on the fringes of the sunken Miami coast, his life is forever changed when he takes on a new client, Mae (Rebecca Ferguson). A simple matter of lost and found becomes a dangerous obsession. As Bannister fights to find the truth about Mae's disappearance, he uncovers a violent conspiracy and must ultimately answer the question: how far would you go to hold on to the ones you love?

During a virtual event on Wednesday, Joy said she was inspired to make Reminiscence after finding an old photograph among her grandfather's belongings. The picture was of an unknown woman her grandfather had never mentioned to anyone in the family. "It made me start to think about memory and our lives in general," she said. "And the moments that maybe pass by, and maybe disappear—they don't stay with us, those connections necessarily—but that meant something, that changed us and touched us. And how nice it would be able to go back to these memories fully for a moment, to live that life and feel the way you felt when you experienced them."

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Syndicate content